American Thoracic Society Journal news tips for May 2000

May 17, 2000


In a study of 1,199 rural teenagers, Canadian investigators found a significantly lower prevalence of asthma, far less airway hyperresponsiveness, and many fewer positive skin test results to inhaled allergens among adolescents raised on a farm than among non-farm teenagers.The differences were especially pronounced in girls. The researchers felt the most likely explanation for the lower prevalence of asthma, wheeze, airway hyperresponsiveness and positive skin test responses to 24 common inhaled allergens among adolescents raised on the farm was their exposure, from a very early age, to a varied and complicated blend of irritant, allergenic, and infectious agents. The research appears in the May issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.


In a follow-up visit at age 7-1/2, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) bronchiolitis in infancy was strongly associated with the development of asthma and other forms of bronchial obstructive disease, as well as allergic sensitization, according to Swedish researchers. Bronchiolitis in infancy is a viral infection of the lower respiratory tract. The investigators studied 47 children hospitalized with RSV bronchiolitis in infancy, together with a matched group of 94 children who did not have the disease. The researchers pointed out the frequency of asthma and allergic sensitization was significantly higher in the RSV group at follow-up. The study is published in the May issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.


Five asthma experts who exhaustively studied the medical literature for the latest research findings on the disease present their views in the May issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. They see asthma as a continuum of disease from symptoms to airway remodeling, with the severity of each phase varying widely from patient to patient. The experts point out the management of asthma should take into account the disease's different stages: acute inflammation and brief symptoms can be quickly reversed by broncho- dilators; exacerbations caused by chronic inflammation can be prevented or more slowly reversed by anti-inflammatory drugs; and the process of airway remodeling has no defined treatment to date.
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American Thoracic Society

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